In general, bankruptcy proceedings under any Chapter involve:
- the debtor – the person who files bankruptcy, also known as “the petitioner”;
- the creditors – any persons, firms, or entities that claim the debtor owes them money;
- the trustee – a court-appointed person who administers the bankruptcy proceedings and any property available for distribution to creditors (called the bankruptcy estate). The trustee represents the interests of the unsecured creditors, and must liquidate nonexempt assets, investigate the debtor’s financial affairs, examine creditors’ proofs of claim,provide information to parties in interest, file reports, estate tax returns and recommend, when appropriate, criminal or civil proceedings against the debtor who has committed fraud or other crimes in connection with the case.
- the bankruptcy judge – who presides over any hearings on disputed matters in connection with the case.
- the credit counselor – an independent financial advisor who must certify both before filing and before the debtor’s discharge is granted that the debtor has completed the required credit counseling and financial management courses.